The word Redox comes from the first letters of the two processes that occur side-by-side;
In a redox reaction, both oxidation and reduction take place. We can analyse them by studying the transfer of electrons.
It’s important to note that in a chemical reaction, electrons are neither created nor destroyed. They are only transferred between atoms.
One way to remember the difference between oxidation and reduction is through the acronym “OIL RIG.” “Oxidation Is Loss” (OIL) means the loss of electrons, while “Reduction Is Gain” (RIG) means the gain of electrons.
Let’s look at an example of a balanced ionic equation that involves magnesium and chlorine:
Magnesium + Chlorine → Magnesium Chloride
Mg + Cl2 → MgCl2
As shown in the equation, one molecule of magnesium chloride consists of one Mg²⁺ ion and two Cl⁻ ions. We can split the reaction into two parts to show oxidation and reduction taking place.
Mg → Mg²⁺ + 2e⁻
Cl2 + 2e⁻ → 2Cl⁻
Displacement reactions are another example of redox reactions, where one element is displaced by another in a compound.